Editor's Note: The UNY Conference sent the following letter on behalf of the UNY Cabinet on Thursday May 21.
As we continue to move into the reopening phase throughout the state of New York, we know that many are anxious to return to in-person gatherings, while maintaining a commitment to care for the safety and health of our church and community members.
Recognizing that Governor Cuomo has stated that the state is now allowing religious gatherings up to ten people, we continue to strongly urge all congregations to not hold in person worship through the end of May. At the beginning of June, we encourage all churches to follow the guidelines of their county or local municipality regarding the number of people who can gather and strictly follow those guidelines. If you do gather according to the numbers allowed, we remind you that the use of masks is required, along with practicing strict social distancing. The Governor’s plan indicates that full congregation religious services would reopen as part of phase four of the governor’s four-phase plan.
We also remind churches of the necessity and requirement to follow guidelines provided by the annual conference regarding preparing your building for reopening and important safety practices to follow. If you have specific questions or concerns related to the guidelines, please contact your district superintendent.
Even as we move through the various phases of reopening, we recognize that some situations require continuing online worship only and we offer our full support for those who make that decision.
We continue to give thanks to God for your ministry and leadership in these days! Be assured of our continued prayers.